Rs 20bn subsidy given to protect masses from petroleum price increases

ISLAMABAD: The government made solid measures to ward off masses from inflationary pressure, providing over Rs 20 billion in subsidy on the petroleum price increases.

According to official source government kept prices of petroleum products either unchanged or decreased in nearly eight months during the last year.

The source added inflation, which had averaged around 12 percent in the five years before the PML(N) government, was recorded at 8.6 percent for July-May 2013-14, adding that too despite the fact that the government had taken difficult decisions to raise taxes and rationalize energy prices.

It adds reaching out to the poor was a major policy objective of the present government which designed as main intervention was the National Income Support Programme (NISP) which consists of Prime Minister’s Youth Program and Benazir Income Support Programme.

The source added these initiatives would go a long way to help the poor through cash-transfers.

When the PML(N) inherited the BISP programme last year, only Rs 40 billion were spent, then immediately the funding was raised to Rs.75 billion besides adding an important component for schemes under the PM’s Youth Progamme.

“We are further enhancing this allocation to Rs 118 billion, representing approximately 200% increase since 2012-13,” the source said.

The source also said the government was successfully going ahead with its plan to augment energy supplies and first shipment of 200 mmcfd of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) would be added to the system in a year.

The current gas production meets only 50 percent of the national requirements, thus efforts were being made to import LNG to bridge the gap.